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Definition of Policy

Policy Image 1

Policy

A written document that serves as evidence of insurance coverage and contains pertinent information about the benefits, coverage and owner, as well as its associated directives and obligations.



Related Terms:

Accomodating Policy

A monetary policy of matching wage and price increases with money supply increases so that the real money supply does not fall and push the economy into recession.


Beggar-My-Neighbor Policy

A policy designed to increase an economy's prosperity at the expense of another country's prosperity.


Cold-Turkey Policy

Decreasing inflation by immediately decreasing the money growth rate to a new, low rate. Contrast with gradualism.


Collection policy

Procedures followed by a firm in attempting to collect accounts receivables.


collection policy

Procedures to collect and monitor receivables.



credit policy

Standards set to determine the amount and nature of credit to extend to customers.


Delivery policy

A company’s stated goal for how soon a customer order will be
shipped following receipt of that order.


Policy Image 2

Demand Management Policy

Fiscal or monetary policy designed to influence aggregate demand for goods and services.


Discretionary Policy

A policy that is a conscious, considered response to each situation as it arises. Contrast with policy rule.


Dividend policy

An established guide for the firm to determine the amount of money it will pay as dividends.


Dividend Policy

This policy governs Canada Life's actions regarding distribution of dividends to policyholders. It's goal is to achieve a dividend distribution that is equitable and timely, and which gives full recognition of the need to ensure the ongoing solidity of the company. It also specifies that distribution to individual policyholders must be equitable between dividend classes and policyholder generations, and among policyholders within any class.


Fiscal policy

The use of government spending and taxing for the specific purpose of stabilizing the economy.


Fiscal Policy

A change in government spending or taxing, designed to influence economic activity.


Incomes Policy

A policy designed to lower inflation without reducing aggregate demand. Wage/price controls are an example.


Insurance Policy (Credit Insurance)

A policy under which the insurance company promises to pay a benefit of the person who is insured.


Joint Policy Life

One insurance policy that covers two lives, and generally provides for payment at the time of the first insured's death. It could also be structured to pay on second death basis for estate planning purposes.


Policy Image 3

Lending Policy

A course of action adopted by a financial institution to guide and usually determine present and future decisions in the light of given conditions.


Monetary policy

Actions taken by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to influence the
money supply or interest rates.



Monetary Policy

Actions taken by the central bank to change the supply of money and the interest rate and thereby affect economic activity.


Non-participating Policy

A type of insurance policy or annuity in which the owner does not receive dividends.


Participating Policy

A policy offers the potential of sharing in the success of an insurance company through the receipt of dividends.


Perfect market view (of dividend policy)

Analysis of a decision on dividend policy, in a perfect capital
market environment, that shows the irrelevance of dividend policy in a perfect capital market.


Policy Acquisition Costs

Costs incurred by insurance companies in signing new policies, including expenditures on commissions and other selling expenses, promotion expenses, premium
taxes, and certain underwriting expenses. Refer also to customer, member, or subscriber
acquisition costs.


Policy Anniversary

Yearly event linked to a policy. Usually the date issued.


Policy asset allocation

A long-term asset allocation method, in which the investor seeks to assess an
appropriate long-term "normal" asset mix that represents an ideal blend of controlled risk and enhanced
return.


Policy Date

Date on which the insurance company assumes responsibilities for the obligations outlined in a policy.


Policy Fee

This is an administrative fee which is part of most life insurance policies. It ranges from about $40 to as much as $100 per year per policy. It is not a separate fee. It is incorporated in the regular monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payment that you make for your policy. Knowing about this hidden fee is important because some insurance companies offer a policy fee discount on additional policies purchased under certain conditions. Sometimes they reduce the policy fee or waive it altogether on one or more additional policies purchased at the same time and billed to the same address. The rules are slightly different depending on the insurance company. There could be enormous savings if several people in the same family or business were intending to purchase coverage at the same time.


Policy Image 4

Policy Fee

Administrative charge included in a policy Premium.



Policy-Ineffectiveness Proposition

Theory that anticipated policy has no effect on output.


Policy Rule

A formula for determining policy. Contrast with discretionary policy.


Policy Year

Period between two policy anniversaries.


Policyholder

This is the person who owns a life insurance policy. This is usually the insured person, but it may also be a relative of the insured, a partnership or a corporation. There are instances in marriage breakup (or relationship breakup with dependent children) where appropriate life insurance on the support provider, owned and paid for by the ex-spouse receiving the support is an acceptable method of ensuring future security.


Policyowner

The person who owns and holds all rights under the policy, including the power to name and change beneficiaries, make a policy loan, assign the policy to a financial institution as collateral for a loan, withdraw funds or surrender the policy.


Signaling view (on dividend policy)

The argument that dividend changes are important signals to investors
about changes in management's expectation about future earnings.


Tax differential view ( of dividend policy)

The view that shareholders prefer capital gains over dividends,
and hence low payout ratios, because capital gains are effectively taxed at lower rates than dividends.


Tax-Related Incomes Policy (TIP)

Tax incentives for labor and business to induce them to conform to wage/price guidelines.


Traditional view (of dividend policy)

An argument that "within reason," investors prefer large dividends to
smaller dividends because the dividend is sure but future capital gains are uncertain.


Variable life insurance policy

A whole life insurance policy that provides a death benefit dependent on the
insured's portfolio market value at the time of death. Typically the company invests premiums in common
stocks, and hence variable life policies are referred to as equity-linked policies.


Account Value

The sum of all the interest options in your policy, including interest.


Annual Premium

Yearly amount payable by a client for a policy or component.


Annuity

A regular periodic payment made by an insurance company to a policyholder for a specified period
of time.


Annuity

A contract which provides an income for a specified period of time, such as a certain number of years or for life. An annuity is like a life insurance policy in reverse. The purchaser gives the life insurance company a lump sum of money and the life insurance company pays the purchaser a regular income, usually monthly.


Annuity

Periodic payments made to an individual under the terms of the policy.


Applicant

The party applying for an insurance policy.


Application

A signed statement of facts made by a person applying for life insurance and then used by the insurance company to decide whether or not to issue a policy. The application becomes part of the insurance contract when the policy is issued.


Assignment

This is the legal transfer on one person's interest in an insurance policy to another person or entity, such as to a bank to qualify for a loan


Assuris

Assuris is a not for profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders in the event that their life insurance company should become insolvent. Their role is to protect policyholders by minimizing loss of benefits and ensuring a quick transfer of their policies to a solvent company where their benefits will continue to be honoured. Assuris is funded by the life insurance industry and endorsed by government. If you are a Canadian citizen or resident, and you purchased a product from a member life insurance company in Canada, you are protected by Assuris.
All life insurance companies authorized to sell in Canada are required, by the federal, provincial and territorial regulators, to become members of Assuris. Members cannot terminate their membership as long as they are licensed to write business in Canada or have any in force business in Canada.
If your life insurance company fails, your policies will be transferred to a solvent company. Assuris guarantees that you will retain at least 85% of the insurance benefits you were promised. Insurance benefits include Death, Health Expense, Monthly Income and Cash Value. Your deposit type products will also be transferred to a solvent company. For these products, Assuris guarantees that you will retain 100% of your Accumulated Value up to $100,000. Deposit type products include accumulation annuities, universal life overflow accounts, premium deposit accounts and dividend deposit accounts. The key to Assuris protection is that it is applied to all benefits of a similar type. If you have more than one policy with the failed company, you will need to add together all similar benefits before applying the Assuris protection. The Assuris website can be found at www.assuris.ca.


Back To Back Annuity

This term refers to the simultaneous issue of a life annuity with a non-guaranteed period and a guaranteed life insurance policy [usually whole life or term to 100]. The face value of the life insurance would be the same amount that was used to purchase the annuity. This combination of life annuity providing the highest payout of all types of annuities, along with a guaranteed life insurance policy allowed an uninsurable person to convert his/her RRSP into the best choice of annuity and guarantee that upon his/her death, the full value of the annuity would be paid tax free through the life insurance policy to his family members. However, in the early 1990's, the Federal tax authorities put a stop to the issuing of standard life rates to rated or uninsurable applicants. Insuring a life annuity in this manner is still an excellent way to provide guaranteed tax free funds to family members but the application for the annuity and the application for the life insurance are separate transactions and today, most likely conducted through two different insurance companies so that there is no suspicion of preferential treatment given to the life insurance application.


Backdating

A procedure for making the effective date of a policy earlier than the application date. Backdating is often used to make the age of the consumer at policy issue lower than it actually was in order to get a lower premium.


Beggar-thy-neighbor

An international trade policy of competitive devaluations and increased protective
barriers where one country seeks to gain at the expense of its trading partners.


Beneficiary

This is the person who benefits from the terms of a trust, a will, an RRSP, a RRIF, a LIF, an annuity or a life insurance policy. In relation to RRSP's, RRIF's, LIF's, Annuities and of course life insurance, if the beneficiary is a spouse, parent, offspring or grand-child, they are considered to be a preferred beneficiary. If the insured has named a preferred beneficiary, the death benefit is invariably protected from creditors. There have been some court challenges of this right of protection but so far they have been unsuccessful. See "Creditor Protection" below. A beneficiary under the age of 18 must be represented by an individual guardian over the age of 18 or a public official who represents minors generally. A policy owner may, in the designation of a beneficiary, appoint someone to act as trustee for a minor. Death benefits are not subject to income taxes. If you make your beneficiary your estate, the death benefit will be included in your assets for probate. Probate filing fees are currently $14 per thousand of estate value in British Columbia and $15 per thousand of estate value in Ontario.
Another way to avoid probate fees or creditor claims against life insurance proceeds is for the insured person to designate and register with his/her insurance company's head office an irrevocable beneficiary. By making such a designation, the insured gives up the right to make any changes to his/her policy without the consent of the irrevocable beneficiary. Because of the seriousness of the implications, an irrevocable designation should only be made for good reason and where the insured fully understands the consequences.
NoteA successful challenge of the rules relating to beneficiaries was concluded in an Ontario court in 1996. The Insurance Act says its provisions relating to beneficiaries are made "notwithstanding the Succession Law Reform Act." There are two relevent provisions of the Succession Law Reform Act. One section of the act gives a judge the power to make any order concerning an estate if the deceased person has failed to provide for a dependant. Another section says money from a life insurance policy can be considered part of the estate if an order is made to support a dependant. In the case in question, the deceased had attempted to deceive his lawful dependents by making his common-law-spouse the beneficiary of an insurance policy which by court order was supposed to name his ex-spouse and children as beneficiaries.


BONDPAR

A system that monitors and evaluates the performance of a fixed-income portfolio , as well as the
individual securities held in the portfolio. BONDPAR decomposes the return into those elements beyond the
manager's control--such as the interest rate environment and client-imposed duration policy constraints--and
those that the management process contributes to, such as interest rate management, sector/quality allocations,
and individual bond selection.


Cash-surrender value

An amount the insurance company will pay if the policyholder ends a whole life
insurance policy.


Cash Surrender Value

This is the amount available to the owner of a life insurance policy upon voluntary termination of the policy before it becomes payable by the death of the life insured. This does not apply to term insurance but only to those policies which have reduced paid up values and cash surrender values. A cash surrender in lieu of death benefit usually has tax implications.


Cash Surrender Value

Benefit that entitles a policy owner to an amount of money upon cancellation of a policy.


Change in Accounting Estimate

A change in the implementation of an existing accounting
policy. A common example would be extending the useful life or changing the expected residual
value of a fixed asset. Another would be making any necessary adjustments to allowances for
uncollectible accounts, warranty obligations, and reserves for inventory obsolescense.


Claim

Request for payment of benefits under the terms of an insurance policy.


Claimant

Person or party making request for payment of benefits under the terms of an insurance policy.


Clientele effect

The grouping of investors who have a preference that the firm follow a particular financing
policy, such as the amount of leverage it uses.


Co-insurance

In medical insurance, the insured person and the insurer sometimes share the cost of services under a policy in a specified ratio, for example 80% by the insurer and 20% by the insured. By this means, the cost of coverage to the insured is reduced.


Contingent Beneficiary

This is the person designated to receive the death benefit of a life insurance policy if the primary beneficiary dies before the life insured. This is a consideration when husband and wife make each other the beneficiary of their coverage. Should they both die in the same car accident or plane crash, the death benefits would go to each others estate and creditor claims could be made against them. Particularly if minor children could be survivors, then a trustee contingent beneficiary should be named.


Contingent Owner

This is the person designated to become the new owner of a life insurance policy if the original owner dies before the life insured.


Conversion

The act of changing from one type of life insurance policy to another, without having to give evidence of insurability.


Conversion Right

Term life insurance products are offered as non-convertible or convertible to a certain time in the future. The coversion right has a time limit, usually to the policy holder's age 60 or possibly even age 70. This right means that the policy holder has the right to convert their existing policy to another specific different plan of permanent insurance within the specified time period, without providing evidence of insurability. There is a slightly higher cost for a term policy with the conversion priviledge but it is a valuable feature should a policy holder's health change for the worst and continued insurance coverage becomes a necessity.
Most often this right is also granted to individuals covered under employee group benefit policies where individuals leaving the employee group have a limited amount of time, usually anywhere from 30 to 90 days, to convert to a specific permanent individual policy without evidence of insurability.


Cost-Benefit Analysis

The calculation and comparison of the costs and benefits of a policy or project.


Cost of Insurance

The cost of insuring a particular individual under the policy. It is based on the amount of coverage, as well as the underwriting class, age, sex and tobacco consumption of that individual.


Countercyclical

Falling during expansions and rising during recessions. A countercyclical policy stimulates during a recession and contracts during an expansion.


Crediting rate

The interest rate offered on an investment type insurance policy.


Crowding Out

Decreases in aggregate demand which accompany an expansionary fiscal policy, dampening the impact of that policy.


Deductible

A flat amount that an insured must pay before the insurance company makes any benefit payments under a health insurance policy.


Dividend

As the term dividend relates to a corporation's earnings, a dividend is an amount paid per share from a corporation's after tax profits. Depending on the type of share, it may or may not have the right to earn any dividends and corporations may reduce or even suspend dividend payments if they are not doing well. Some dividends are paid in the form of additional shares of the corporation. Dividends paid by Canadian corporations qualify for the dividend tax credit and are taxed at lower rates than other income.
As the term dividend relates to a life insurance policy, it means that if that policy is "participating", the policy owner is entitled to participate in an equitable distribution of the surplus earnings of the insurance company which issued the policy. Surpluses arise primarily from three sources:
1) the difference between anticipated and actual operating expenses,
2) the difference between anticipated and actual claims experience, and
3) interest earned on investments over and above the rate required to maintain policy reserves. Having regard to the source of the surplus, the "dividend" so paid can be considered, in part at least, as a refund of part of the premium paid by the policy owner.
Life insurance policy owners of participating policies usually have four and sometimes five dividend options from which to choose:
1) take the dividend in cash,
2) apply the dividend to reduce current premiums,
3) leave the dividends on deposit with the insurance company to accumulate at interest like a savings plan,
4) use the dividends to purchase paid-up whole life insurance to mature at the same time as the original policy,
5) use the dividends to purchase one year term insurance equal to the guaranteed cash value at the end of the policy year, with any portion of the dividend not required for this purpose being applied under one of the other dividend options.
NOTE: It is suggested here that if you have a participating whole life policy and at the time of purchase received a "dividend projection" of incredible future savings, ask for a current projection. Life insurance company's surpluses are not what they used to be.


Dividend

Unlike dividends which are paid to company shareholders, participating insurance policy dividends are not based on the company's overall profits. Rather, they are determined by grouping policies by type and country of issue and looking at how each class contributes to the company's earnings and surplus.


Dividend clientele

A group of shareholders who prefer that the firm follow a particular dividend policy. For
example, such a preference is often based on comparable tax situations.


Duration

The time it takes for a policy or annuity to reach maturity.


Endowment

Life insurance payable to the policyholder, if living on the maturity date stated in the policy, or to a beneficiary if the insured dies before that date. For example, some Term to age 100 policies offer the option of taking the face amount of the policy as a cash payout at age 100 if the policyholder is still alive and paying all required income taxes on the amount received or leaving the policy to pay out upon death whereupon the payout is tax free.


Exclusion

A specific condition or circumstance listed in the policy that are not covered by the policy


Federal Reserve System

The central bank of the U.S., established in 1913, and governed by the Federal
Reserve Board located in Washington, D.C. The system includes 12 Federal Reserve Banks and is authorized
to regulate monetary policy in the U.S. as well as to supervise Federal Reserve member banks, bank holding
companies, international operations of U.S.banks, and U.S.operations of foreign banks.


Federal Reserve System

The central banking authority responsible for monetary policy in the United States.


Financial leverage clientele

A group of investors who have a preference for investing in firms that adhere to
a particular financial leverage policy.


Fine-Tuning

An attempt to maintain the economy at or near full employment by frequent changes in policy.


First To Die Coverage

This means that there are two or more life insured on the same policy but the death benefit is paid out on the first death only. If two or more persons at the same address are purchasing life insurance at the same time, it is wise to compare the cost of this kind of coverage with individual policies having a multiple policy discount.


Grace Period

A specific period of time after a premium payment is due during which the policy owner may make a payment, and during which, the protection of the policy continues. The grace period usually ends in 30 days.


Gradualism

A policy of decreasing the rate of growth of the money supply gradually over an extended period of time, so that inflation can adjust with smaller unemployment cost. Contrast with cold-turkey policy.


Group Life Insurance

This is a very common form of life insurance which is found in employee benefit plans and bank mortgage insurance. In employee benefit plans the form of this insurance is usually one year renewable term insurance. The cost of this coverage is based on the average age of everyone in the group. Therefore a group of young people would have inexpensive rates and an older group would have more expensive rates.
Some people rely on this kind of insurance as their primary coverage forgetting that group life insurance is a condition of employment with their employer. The coverage is not portable and cannot be taken with you if you change jobs. If you have a change in health, you may not qualify for new coverage at your new place of employment.
Bank mortgage insurance is also usually group insurance and you can tell this by virtue of the fact that you only receive a certificate of insurance, and not a complete policy. The only form in which bank mortgage insurance is sold is reducing term insurance, matching the declining mortgage balance. The only beneficiary that can be chosen for this kind of insurance is the bank. In both cases, employee benefit plan group insurance and bank mortgage insurance, the coverage is not guaranteed. This means that coverage can be cancelled by the insurance company underwriting that particular plan, if they are experiencing excessive claims.


Guaranteed Renewal

A promise that a life insurance policy will be renewed without penalty or medical examination after the term has expired. The renewal rate can also be guaranteed.


Illustration

An illustration is a computer-generated spreadsheet that takes into account a number of assumptions in order to show how a specific policy might perform for a specific individual.


Incontestable Clause

This clause in regular life insurance policy provides for voiding the contract of insurance for up to two years from the date of issue of the coverage if the life insured has failed to disclose important information or if there has been a misrepresentation of a material fact which would have prevented the coverage from being issued in the first place. After the end of two years from issue, a misrepresentation of smoking habits or age can still void or change the policy.


Insurable Interest

In England in the 1700's it was popular to bet on the date of death of certain prominent public figures. Anyone could buy life insurance on another's life, even without their consent. Unfortunately, some died before it was their time, dispatched prematurely in order that the life insurance proceeds could be collected. In 1774, English Parliament passed a law which restricted the right to be a beneficiary on a life insurance contract to those who would suffer an economic loss when the life insured died. The law also provided that a person has an unlimited insurable interest in his own life. It is still a legal stipulation that an insurance contract is not valid unless insurable interest exists at the time the policy is issued. Life Insurance companies will not, however, issue unlimited amounts of coverage to an individual. The amount of life insurance which will be approved has to approximate the loss caused by the death of the individual and must not result in a windfall for the beneficiary.


Insured

This is the person covered by the life insurance policy. Upon this person's death, a tax free benefit will be paid to that person's estate or a named beneficiary.


Insured

Person whose life is protected under a specific policy.


Insured Retirement Plan

This is a recently coined phrase describing the concept of using Universal Life Insurance to tax shelter earnings which can be used to generate tax-free income in retirement. The concept has been described by some as "the most effective tax-neutralization strategy that exists in Canada today."
In addition to life insurance, a Universal Life policy includes a tax-sheltered cash value fund that cannot exceed the policy's face value. Deposits made into the policy are partially used to fund the life insurance and partially grow tax sheltered inside the policy. It should be pointed out that in order for this to work, you must make deposits into this kind of policy well in excess of the cost of the underlying insurance. Investment of the cash value inside the policy are commonly mutual fund type investments. Upon retirement, the policy owner can draw on the accumulated capital in his/her policy by using the policy as collateral for a series of demand loans at the bank. The loans are structured so the sum of money borrowed plus interest never exceeds 75% of the accumulated investment account. The loans are only repaid with the tax free death benefit at the death of the policy holder. Any remaining funds are paid out tax free to named beneficiaries.
Recognizing the value to policy holders of this use of Universal Life Insurance, insurance companies are reworking features of their products to allow the policy holder to ask to have the relationship of insurance to investment growth tracked so that investment growth inside the policy may be maximized. The only potential downside of this strategy is the possibility of the government changing the tax rules to prohibit using a life insurance product in this manner.


Interest Option

One of several investment accounts in which your premiums may be invested within your life insurance policy.


Issue

When an item is approved and released for sale, or when a policy or sales contract is accepted.


Issue Age

Age of an insured as at the policy issue date, using "age nearest" next birthday formula.


Issue Date

Date on which a policy is approved.


Laissez-Faire

A policy of minimum government intervention in the operation of the economy.


Lapse

This refers to the termination of an insurance policy due to the owner of the policy failing to pay the premium within the grace period [Usually within 30 days after the last regular premium was required and not paid]. It is possible to re-instate the coverage with the same premium and benefits intact but the life insured will have to qualify for this coverage all over again and bring up to date all unpaid premiums.


Lapse

Termination when a policy has no cash value after all attempts at conservation have failed.


Lapses

Policies which are sold but do not remain in force because the policyholder fails to pay premiums.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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